Author(s): Grant VJ, Chamley LW
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Abstract Although controversial, growing evidence from evolutionary biology suggests that the mammalian mother may have a role in influencing the sex of her offspring. However, there is competing information on the molecular mechanisms by which such influence could be manifested. The new initiatives are based on hypotheses from evolutionary biology: the 'good condition' hypothesis, which suggests that post conception, higher levels of maternal glucose may differentially promote the development of male embryos; and the 'maternal dominance' hypothesis, which proposes that before conception, higher follicular testosterone may influence the development of the ovum so that it emerges already adapted to receive an X- or a Y-chromosome-bearing spermatozoon. Now, it seems these hypothesised mechanisms could be operating in synchrony, each complementing and reinforcing the other. On the other hand, there are continuing problems in identifying a precise sequence of mechanisms as evidenced from research in sperm-sorting. Research on high-fat diets and the sex ratio in polytocous species may indicate important differences in proximate mechanisms for sex allocation between polytocous and monotocous mammals.
This article was published in Reproduction
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy